UCLA provides comprehensive care for periampullary and bile duct diseases in one convenient clinic. Our interventional endoscopy team can often deliver diagnosis, treatment and pain relief in a single outpatient visit.
UCLA has the largest team of interventional endoscopy experts in Los Angeles. This team of specialists provides minimally invasive diagnosis and treatment, using a flexible tube (endoscope) inserted into the digestive tract. With interventional endoscopy, patients can often avoid surgery.
Periampullary and bile duct diseases we treat include:
Choledochal cysts are a relatively rare condition that causes enlargement of the bile duct, which carries bile (digestive juices) from the liver and gallbladder. There are several types of bile duct cysts, some of which may increase a patient’s risk of cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer) if left untreated.
In many cases, bile duct cysts are a genetically inherited condition. They can also develop later in adulthood for unknown reasons.
Symptoms vary in patients with bile duct cysts and may include:
Bile duct cysts are typically diagnosed with imaging tests, such as ultrasound, CT (computerized tomography) scans or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans. Your doctor may also use procedures like ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography) or PTC (percutaneous transhepatic cholangiopancreatography) to take X-rays of your bile duct.
In some cases, doctors may recommend surgery to remove a bile duct cyst. This is usually the case if you experience repeated infection or the cyst presents a cancer risk.
UCLA is one of the highest volume pancreatic surgery centers in the area. Our team operates on more than 100 patients every year. This advanced experience often means faster recovery with fewer complications for our patients.
Cholangiocarcinoma, or bile duct cancer, is a malignant (cancerous) growth in one of the bile ducts. It is a rare disease that occurs in roughly 2 out of 100,000 people.
There are several risk factors for cholangiocarcinoma. These include:
Symptoms of bile duct cancer are similar to other pancreatic diseases and may include:
Doctors may use several tests to identify tumors or bile duct blockages:
Learn more about our advanced imaging and diagnosis capabilities.
Treatment for bile duct cancer depends on whether the tumor is confined to the bile duct or whether it has spread to other parts of your body. If possible, doctors will surgically remove the tumor and likely prescribe chemotherapy and radiation to lower the chances of it returning.
If the cancer has spread and can’t be removed completely, however, chemotherapy and radiation are typically given alone. Interventional endoscopy treatments or surgery to remove blockages can also relieve symptoms.
Duodenal cancer is a malignant (cancerous) growth in the first part of the small intestine (the duodenum). Since duodenal polyps can develop into duodenal cancer, they are usually removed surgically.
There are several risk factors for duodenal cancer:
Symptoms of duodenal cancer include:
Symptoms of duodenal polyps are similar to those of duodenal cancer and may also include jaundice. See a doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
Your doctor may recommend several tests to diagnose duodenal cancer or polyps:
Doctors often recommend surgery for duodenal cancer, typically performing a Whipple procedure. UCLA surgeons perform between 100 and 150 of these complex surgeries each year, making ours one of the most experienced pancreatic cancer surgery centers in the region.
Patients may also receive chemotherapy and radiation therapy, depending on their tumor size and lymph node involvement.
Ampullary cancer occurs in the ampulla of Vater, where the bile duct and pancreatic duct meet. Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment all closely resemble what happens with pancreatic cancer.
For more information or to make an appointment with our team of specialists, please call us at (310) 206-6889.